Our leadership has been quite active in this regard, and with respect to our neighboring countries and several Arab countries in the Middle East, we have seen a remarkable increase in cooperation. As important, there has been a genuine growth of understanding and mutual respect. To the KRG, this is a critical step forward in regional diplomacy, which helps to assure our economic development and political stability. We have fashioned a significant trading relationship and built substantial economic ties.
While energy has been a source of division in Iraq, it has been a source of agreement and mutual benefit between the KRG and Turkey, and holds tremendous potential for the future. Our growing relationship with Turkey is a bright and encouraging sign of our successful energy diplomacy and maturity as a regional entity. We are committed to build the same level of energy cooperation with other neighboring countries as well.
As much as we value friends in the Region, our relationships with Western states are equally important. We can never again afford to be isolated from the economic and political powers of the world. We have therefore taken every opportunity to engage with the international community on all issues.
Our relationships with Europe, the United States and the developed world represent our strongest guarantee that we will not again suffer the consequences of neglect and isolation. Our future depends upon these economic and political ties and we will pursue them wisely.
KRG is committed to solve disputes with Baghdad through dialogue and negotiations. The KRG Prime Minister and the President of the Kurdistan Region recently visited Baghdad to initiate dialogue to solve outstanding issues. Kurdistan has demonstrated flexibility with Baghdad, and has participated willingly in various structures of governance—such as federalism. This has failed to address disputes however.
As I travel around the world, I am frequently asked to address the question of the aspirations for independence of the Kurdish people. It is important to understand that for the moment, the key focus of our Region is the battle against ISIS. Whatever our plans for the future of Region, we understand that we must first be free of the threat from ISIS. No goal is more important, nor more urgent.
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